Cursed By Destiny Page 30

Misha stopped smiling when he saw my hands. He frowned as he examined them. I didn’t protest. It was the first time he’d shown any concern. “Would you like me to send for Emme?”

I was surprised he didn’t offer to heal me himself. Maybe it was because of the old woman’s presence. No, never mind—her watching would’ve probably turned him on. “No, I’m okay. I’ll be seeing Emme the day after tomorrow. If they’re still bothering me then, I’ll have her mend them.”

“You should still have them tended to whether they feel better or not.” He met my eyes. “If it pleases you, I would like to spend the day with you tomorrow.”

My hands slipped from his. I waited for him to say more, surprised by his kindness, considering his mood lately. “Okay. What did you have in mind?”

“Anything of your choosing.”

The tiny woman interrupted us by speaking quickly in Russian. Misha answered her and she extracted a tape measure from her basket. She looked at me and scowled. She pointed to my stomach and then my br**sts and said something that made Misha laugh. Whatever it was I doubted I’d find it as funny. She grabbed me and turned me in a slow pirouette. For someone who looked ready to shatter a hip, she was a strong little thing.

She forced my arms up and measured my bust. “Misha, what’s going on?”

Misha didn’t answer me right away. He was too busy laughing as Little Miss Personality waved the tape measure in his face and babbled on about something. I don’t know what the hell she was so mad at, but she seemed to reach her breaking point when she measured my waist. The little twerp threw her hands in the air and yelled, her deeply wrinkled face contorting with rage. She took more measurements before screaming yet again.

Misha said something else to her that made her shake her finger at him. He flashed me a wicked smile as she placed the tape measure against my hip and let it fall.

She pointed right above my knee. Misha shook his head and said something else. She moved her hand higher and again he shook his head. This went on until she almost aligned with my happy place. When Misha finally nodded, she lost her mind and started shouting at me in Russian. Although I couldn’t understand her, I just knew she was swearing. The hand gestures and snarls gave her away. She threw her measuring tape in her basket and started to stomp away. Misha grabbed her by her long knobby fingers and whispered something softly in her ear. The woman turned from bitter old maid to love-struck maiden. She actually blushed and smiled toothlessly at him before skipping away.

I scoffed, annoyed at how easily Misha had won her over. “What the hell was that about?”

“She wonders what a nice girl like you is doing with me.”

“I’m beginning to wonder that, too,” I said, though I didn’t believe a damn word he said.

Out of nowhere, a scrawny little old man scurried into the guesthouse with a piece of paper and a pencil. His wiry white hair stuck out in a tuff, contrasting his dark skin. He gave me a warm smile before motioning me to a chair. As soon as I sat, he gently lifted my bare feet and traced them onto the paper. He then waved before leaving as quickly as he came.

“Will you please tell me what’s going on?”

“Kitten, there will be a gala at the Den in two weeks to honor Alliance members who have had the greatest impact on the war. Representatives from were packs, vampire clans, and witch covens worldwide will be there. Our combined efforts have helped cripple the Tribe. Your capture, attempted escape, and our rescue of you alone resulted in the destruction of over four hundred Tribesmen. Not to mention that in the few hours you spent in Nicaragua, you helped destroy over a hundred of the enemy and prevented the birth of over twenty demon children. You have also aided in killing three Tribemasters that otherwise would have continued breeding. We are winning the war and it is time to celebrate.”

“So all this . . . stuff was to fit me for a dress for the gala?”

“Yes.”

I smoothed my finger over the sore knuckles of my opposite hand. “Misha, the Elders don’t want me at the Den. Anara especially hates me.”

“Whether the Elders like it or not, you are an Alliance member—just like the vampires, witches, and werebeasts. And you are respected. Anara was the one who recommended I send you to the nest. He knew your skills would be needed to ensure victory.”

I pursed my lips. “Sending me somewhere where I might be killed is different than welcoming me into a sacred place among weres.”

Misha stiffened. “You fight with us and therefore have earned a place among those invited. It would be a tremendous insult to the vampires to show you anything but hospitality.”

Aric would be there, married by then. The thought of Barbara standing alongside him as his wife drove the last knife into my heart. “I’m not going, Misha. I can’t.”

“You can, and you will, Celia. You and your sisters will be recognized among the honored guests. Don’t allow that mongrel to rob that from you.” He turned on his heel. I didn’t know whether his derogatory comment was meant for Aric or for Anara. I was resigned to believe it was directed at Aric. After all, Misha had caught my broken expression, the one that overtook my visage every time I thought about my wolf.

I returned to my small living room and slumped on the chocolate-colored couch. Moisture dripped from the green ceramic bowl I’d soaked my hands in and the chunks of ice had almost melted. I knew I should continue my therapy, but thoughts of seeing Aric raced through my head. If I decided against attending the gala, Misha wouldn’t force me. While I recognized our friendship remained strained, I knew he’d never intentionally hurt me. And seeing Aric married would destroy me.

CHAPTER 12

A sonic boom followed more yodeling in Mandarin. I peered through the thick glass of the library window. Ying-Ying had the naughty Catholic schoolgirls dancing with their arms up as she hovered around my assigned Lexus. The good Catholics didn’t appear happy as they twirled around the car to the beat of something Ying-Ying. Like me, they knew better than to risk riling my yogi. She was kind of like the Hulk—but not green and not as charming. Ying-Ying was psycho in a good mood. Nobody wished to see her angry.

Every time she drifted over the hood, lightning crashed over Tahoe and sparks of peach and pink swirled from the water and onto the car. I turned back to Misha. “Are you sure this is necessary?”

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